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Published January 2011 | Published
Journal Article Open

Comparative Surface Heat Transfer Measurements in Hypervelocity Flow


Reliable prediction of the high heat transfer rates experienced during the hypersonic portion of planetary entry and descent is critical to vehicle survival. Two types of sensors that can be used to measure surface heat flux are coaxial thermocouple gages and thin film resistance thermometers. Individually, both types of gages have been used successfully in a number of studies [1–19]. Both thermocouple and thin film gages measure surface temperature from which heat transfer can be calculated. Both have µs response times, and can be flush-mounted in models. Coaxial thermocouples are robust, can survive challenging experimental conditions, and are typically used in higher enthalpy flows. Thin film resistance gages typically provide improved signal levels, but are less robust, have to be individually calibrated, and are typically used in lower enthalpy flows. As a result, there are few studies which directly compare measurements from the two types of gages. In the present work, we perform experimental measurements at a range of intermediate enthalpies in hypervelocity flow and make direct comparisons between temperature histories and heat flux data obtained from thermocouple and thin film gages.

Additional Information

© 2010 by University of Illinois. Published by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc., with permission. Presented as Paper 2010-671 at the 48th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting Including the New Horizons Forum and Aerospace Exposition, Orlando, FL, 4–7 January 2010; received 22 April 2010; revision received 12 August 2010; accepted for publication 1 October 2010. This work was funded through the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research FA9550-08-1-0172 with John Schmisseur as program manager. We are also grateful to the Caltech T5 group for their valuable help with thermocouples and to Russell Adelgren at the U.S. Air Force Academy for useful discussions on thin film gages.

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